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No Time for the Gym? Consider the Convenience of Cellulite-burning Shoes

No Time for the Gym? Consider the Convenience of Cellulite-burning Shoes

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In recent years, Americans have been presented with seemingly limitless and miraculous ways to shed unwanted pounds, ranging from pills and Pilates to cult-like diet regimes and various forms of bariatric surgery. With so many purported miracle cures for obesity jostling for our attention, some might turn a skeptical eye on one of the latest products to hit the weight-loss scene — shoes. What are the chances that simply wearing the right pair of sneakers can really contribute to a sleeker physique?

On the other hand, just consider the possibilities: shoe manufacturers are trumpeting their products as a practically exercise-free workout. Tonewalker sandals, for instance, have been called "the lazy way" to shed pounds and tone thighs; makers claim they can burn up to 300 calories in just 30 minutes of normal walking. If these and similar types of footwear actually are effective, who in their right mind would turn away? Not celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna, and Christina Aguilera, all of whom have been spotted wearing fat-burning shoes from MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology). Marketed as a convenient way to lose weight and improve health without modifying your everyday routine (also, as "the world's smallest gym"), these and other wonder shoes could be poised to take the country by storm.

How Can Shoes Make You Lose Weight?

Inspired by the old gym practice of wearing weighted bracelets, anklets, and other sandbag-like contraptions in order to work muscles, fat-burning shoes feature oversized, weighted soles. Noticeably heavy, they oblige walkers to do extra work while making their way around town. In addition, the soles generally curve up in front and back, often leaving a narrow space between the ground and the toes and the heel. This tends to tilt the body back slightly, encouraging the use of additional muscles for even greater loss of cellulite.

As a result of their special design, "anti-cellulite" shoes can reportedly help you lose weight and tone your legs while you perform daily activities like shopping, going to and from work, and picking the kids up from school. For those with busy schedules, such convenience might give these shoes the aura of a weight-loss holy grail. So, are they simply too good to be true?

Second Thoughts for the Fashionable and the Price Conscious

Though manufacturers are taking steps to make these shoes stylish, the crucial importance of heft makes one thing inescapable: cellulite-burning shoes are bulky rather than sleek. For example, while MBT Shoes puts out relatively fashion-friendly sneakers that don't necessarily scream "orthopedic," Prada (or even Adidas) lovers are likely to be unimpressed. And more certainly seems to be more when it comes to the chunky sandals put out by Tonewalker, which resemble large, oddly shaped bricks.

For many, price may be another drawback. The MBT shoes favored by Christina, Gwyneth, and Madonna run about $200 to $250 per pair, while even less expensive versions will set you back at least $150. A drop in the bucket for the glitterati, of course, but what about you and me? High cost, combined with an awkward period of learning to balance on oddly shaped soles, has made some prospective wearers less than enthusiastic.

Is America Ready for the Fat-burning Shoe?

With obesity and related health problems reaching near epidemic proportions in the U.S., the appeal of a single miracle device for slimming down is understandable. Even with routine trips to the gym and a consistently healthy diet, success in weight loss is often elusive. Perhaps more important, Americans, who put in more hours at work than any other nationality, often have little time or energy to exercise and prepare healthy, home-cooked meals. Add regular doses of seductively convenient fast or processed food to the equation, and the math is depressingly easy to do.

So could doling out the extra cash for slightly chunky footwear be the answer to our health care woes? Certainly not all of them, but reports suggest that slipping on these specially designed shoes might be an effective and relatively easy first step.

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